Spring Break Family Vacation to the PNW

Spring Break Family Vacation  to the PNW

When Paul and I sat down to plan our family vacation, I was prepped and ready to make my case for Hawaii.  Hawaii all the way baby!  Dream vacation coming up!  Paul, trust me!  It will be perfect.  I have the resort picked, the kid can go to the day camp, we can drink and relax on the beach, it will be marvelous!

And I think he was actually pretty sold on it.

We clicked around a few different sites and for whatever reason, my fantasy trip of daydreams and wonderlands started to dwindle.  Reality started to set in.  Day camp for Stevie?  What exactly do they do at day camp? Puzzles?  Crafts?  Movie time?  Dang.  He’s gonna hate that.  Will the staff be able to handle this guy?

In the midst of all my doubts, Paul looks at me and says “Alright, should we book these rooms?”

Um… actually.  Maybe we should scale back a little bit.  Since we know our situation, and we know Stevie is going to be difficult no matter where we go, let’s just go visit some friends up north.

And just like that, my Hawaii vacation dreams were put on hold (again).  I’m not bitter about it.  I’m actually really relieved we didn’t go.  It would’ve been a huge, expensive disappointment.  And that’s just where we are at right now.  I know it will happen when the time is right — with our without the Steve.

So!  Off to visit friends up north!  Still fun and exciting.  We love the Pacific Northwest.  Sure, it will rain the whole time, but hey!  It’s all part of the experience.

And this is where I start to think I don’t want to write out all the details of the trip.  I get so tired of the negative feelings that come along with experiences like this.  So just to give you a tiny glimpse into it: Even with all the convos I had to try and prep Stevie for what lie ahead, as soon as the plane wheels lifted off the runway, he turned to me in all seriousness and shouted “We almost there?!”  A few people snickered, but they didn’t know at the time that this would be the extent of our conversation over the next 2 hours.  Stevie didn’t have any major tantrums on the plane (mostly because we kept feeding him) but I also don’t feel like for a 6 year old, that’s any huge accomplishment.  And it’s safe to say the trip was pretty downhill from there.

Well… that’s not 100% true.  There were certainly highlights.  The time we spent with friends was pretty great.  There were other kids for Stevie to play with and of course it was just nice to catch up and see how everyone’s kids are growing and how everyone has settled into their new lives outside of L.A.  We had some great food and 2 days where it didn’t rain and that was all pretty glorious.  We also rented a Toyota Camry and Stevie loved it so freakin much, you would’ve thought we rented him his very own Lamborghini. It was pretty funny.

So it’s not really necessary for me to bring up that on day 1, I almost called the trip, right?  Like do we just go home now because I can’t do 4 more days of this shit?  And then on day 3,  that I stopped and cried in the middle of a busy sidewalk because the behaviors were out of control?  Or that the day before we went home, my husband and I looked at each other with exhausted eyes and realized how disconnected we felt, putting all our time into managing the kid?  It’s not necessary to bring up those things, but I do.

Because I know someone else has been there.

Someone else has been where we’ve been.  Where you can’t help but wonder how other people do it.  Or feel like you can’t catch a break.  Or you debate never taking a vacation again.  Or all your creative energy is zapped.  Or you spend a good amount of time wondering what you’re doing wrong, why you’re failing as this child’s parent.  Or you’re hard on yourself because you’re a little bit jealous of people who take seemingly magical vacations with their kids, and you’re simply NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL JEALOUS OF PEOPLE EVER.  Listen, if that’s you — I’ve been there.  I get it, I’ve felt it all.  And I’m sorry that it’s not easier.

I try not to feel those things.  But I do.  So I embrace them, feel them, and then try to let them go with the next passing breath.  Not dwell on them. Because it’s normal, but it won’t really get you anywhere. And that’s that.

On that note!  Here are the pictures I DID take.  Moments in between the tantrums and screaming, which is really more fun than listening to me complain anyway.  Enjoy.

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Have you ever had a vacation end in disaster??

Loves,
jaana

9 Comments
  1. Oh man. Just all the kudos ever for being honest about your experience, vs. presenting one of those shiny sugar-coated versions of life and parenthood that so many bloggers churn out (which often comes off as weird curated falseness instead of whatever they were going for, I think).

    When I was a kid, my family took one big trip – a camping roadtrip across 3 states to Disney World. This was horrendously expensive for my parents, they had planned it for years, and were so excited to be able to have saved up enough to make that trip possible for their kids. My sister and I were by all definitions “easy” children. And yet there were several points along the way when my parents in all seriousness debated just calling it and turning around.

    I honestly don’t know anyone who has had a thoroughly delightful experience traveling with their kids. Little kids just have too many emotions, dramas, and developing-brain weirdness happening to make anything predictable. That being said, years later people tend to block out the crap parts and remember the good ones, which is lovely 🙂

    Some parent-embarrassment/frustration stories for solidarity (I don’t have kids, so am using examples from my own childhood here):

    1) An entire packed restaurant had to close down for a while thanks to my baby sister’s diarrhea explosion.

    2) When I was little, I loudly repeated an offensive joke I didn’t understand to an entire table of people at a quiet Veterans Day brunch. Of course people assumed I’d heard it from my parents (I hadn’t), and thought they were the worst.

    3) And finally, with regard to fits: I actually had a full on screaming fit when I was 11 at the dentist, much to the horror of my mother and everyone in the waiting room, so 6 seems pretty reasonable :p

  2. Hi there, firstly I would like to comment on his awesome Africa shirt, seeing I am from south Africa,it was a nice surprise. I must say, I have 3 boys between ages 8 and 15 and it is a challenge sometimes to make it all work. It is sooo great to see honesty in the blog world and I really like following you the most. I think you guys are great parents and Stevie is very lucky to have you both. Chin up buttercup!

    1. That is so sweet! And good to know we all have challenges in some way or another — we’re not alone! The Africa sweatshirt we actually bought in Seattle for extra layers. Go figure. Haha!

  3. Nobody’s vacation is all that magical, and I say this after spring break at Disney World. My child is not yours, so my experiences are very different, but my kid also has challenges, and some aren’t so obvious to strangers. (I have no doubt people often just think I am a crappy mom. But I’m not. You’re not. We are awesome.) I think you have come so far with your son, but there’s a long road ahead–for my family too. One step at a time. I learned some lessons from the WDW trip, and I think we will have a better vacation next time. I hope you will too.

    1. Thanks L! I always appreciate hearing that people can relate, regardless! Hope your next WDW trip is TRULY magical. I have that one on my wishlist. 🙂

  4. You’re absolutely right to write about this. And you’re breathtakingly smart to have tried SMALLER vacation, but still to have tried. We call them “not cations” sometimes. There have been years when we just didn’t try at all, for all our sakes. Anyway modifying your expectations to what your family can do at the time is exactly what needs to happen, and it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be devastated when that’s still Too Much to have attempted. We’re still trying to figure out vacations, and we’re still going to be spanked by some unexpected awful when we eventually go. But it is getting better, and I do think it’s important to try when the winds seem to be blowing favorably, for everyone’s sake. I don’t know. Anyway you’re not alone, you’re doing a great job, from what I can see, and again, you’re not alone.

    1. NOT-CATIONS. LOL 100% That’s kids for you!! And I appreciate the supportive, understanding comment. Solidarity sister! We’ll get a dream vacay one of these days, I’m confident.

  5. Wow Stevie looks so big. You are a good mother! Thank you for your honesty….it is much appreciated and valuable to read. No, you are not alone in the role of parenting the “difficult yet lovable child”. There are many of us out there who try on a daily basis to work hard to parent the best way we can. Stevie is a blessed child to have you.

    1. OMG totally — whenever I see pics of Stevie standing next to me, I can’t believe it! And thank you for the sweet comment, Juli. <3

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